Economische aanraders 11-03-2018
Economische aanraders: Veren of Lood biedt u op zondag wekelijks een inkijkje in (minstens) 10 belangrijke of informatieve artikelen en interviews die de voorafgaande 7 dagen op economisch terrein verschenen op onafhankelijke sites.
De kop is de link naar het oorspronkelijke artikel, waarvan de samenvatting of de eerste (twee) alinea’s hier gegeven worden.
Sinds december 2015 nemen we ook een paar extra links op naar artikelen die minder specialistische kennis vereisen. Deze met *** gemerkte artikelen zijn ons inziens ook interessant voor lezers met weinig basiskennis van economie.
***More frequent central bank communication worsens financial and macroeconomic forecasts – Thomas Lustenberger, Enzo Rossi
Most central banks communicate more openly with the markets than they did 20 years ago. The column argues that more speeches, more forward guidance, and more transparency has often worsened the accuracy of private-sector forecasts. Too much communication may be the problem, creating a cacophony of policy voices.
European Court of Justice Deals Heavy Blow to “Corporate Sovereignty Clause” – Don Quijones
Is it the beginning of the end for “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” clauses that have become toxic to democracies?
In a surprise move, the European Union’s top court has ruled that Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses contained within almost 200 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) between EU member countries violate EU law, casting doubt on such deals as well as others struck by the bloc as a whole. ISDS clauses allow foreign investors or corporations to sue governments for passing laws or regulations that could undermine the value of their investments.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) found that an award of damages to Dutch-based insurer Achmea from Slovakia under a bilateral investment treaty inherited from former Czechoslovakia contravened EU law since the arbitration tribunal that made the ruling was “not a court of a member state.” As such, it had no power to refer matters to the ECJ, the highest court of the EU.
Monetary policy and fiscal discipline: How the ECB planted the seeds of the euro area crisis – Athanasios Orphanides
Since the beginning of the euro area crisis, euro area governments have experienced greater fiscal stress than governments of advanced economies outside the euro area with comparable or weaker fiscal fundamentals. This column, taken from a recent VoxEU eBook, asks what the source of this fragility has been, how it relates to the role of the ECB in exerting fiscal discipline in the euro area, and how can it be corrected.
The End of Cheap Debt Will Bring a Wave of Bankruptcies – Daniel Lacalle
The end of the era of cheap money highlights the risk of “Enron-style” bankruptcies in many sectors, including renewable energy. With the path of three rate hikes in the United States in 2018 confirmed by the Federal Reserve and a nervous equity market, the challenges are more evident than ever.
The past eight years of massive liquidity and low rates have not helped deleverage, and many companies have used this period to increase imbalances and create complex debt structures. In
Digital revolutions in public finance – Sanjeev Gupta, Michael Keen, Alpa Shah, Geneviève Verdier
Digitalisation has vastly increased our ability to collect and exploit the information that governments use to implement macroeconomic policy. The column argues that the ability of governments to use the vast amounts of information held in the private sector on financial transactions are already making fiscal policy more efficient and effective. Problems of access to digital technology, cybersecurity risks, and the difficulty of organisational change in the public sector may slow the pace at which these opportunities are exploited.
Economists letter on tariffs – John H. Cochrane
Once per decade or so it is worth revisiting the famous 1930 economists’ letter on Tariffs. (The link, at econjournalwatch.org, has a concise history and links to more.) 1028 economists — a huge proportion of the number then around — signed the following, urging President Hoover to veto the Smoot Hawley tariff.
We know how it turned out. No, we did not win that trade war. Well, not until about 1945.
What will this one lead to? I see some hope in that President Trump is at last uniting the country. As Greg Mankiw points out
Perhaps, as with DACA, the President using the existing law, which allows and even encourages widespread protectionism, this action will spur Congress to pass trade laws that require a bit more than vague “injury” to industry or “national security” fantasies. But I am straining to find a silver lining.
The darker possibility. Many administrations start with some policy victories — judicial nominees, deregulation, tax reform — and then over reach. This may be the start of over reach.
Old Fields Die Hard – Haley Zaremba
Oil is setting up for a turbulent year.
In an industry that is always full of contradictions, 2018 has been a particularly complicated and divisive year for the global oil markets–and it looks like it won’t be letting up any time soon.
For months, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been pushing for a dramatic decrease in production in the interest of bolstering prices at the pump. They’ve even managed to get major OPEC outsiders like Russia and the oil cartel to agree to production cuts. While the original deal is due to expire at the end of March, 2018, OPEC has just extended the production caps to the end of the year in an attempt to counterbalance the global glut of crude oil.
Forget “Free Trade”–It’s All About Capital Flows – Charles Hugh Smith
In a world dominated by mobile capital, mobile capital is the comparative advantage.
Defenders and critics of “free trade” and globalization tend to present the issue as either/or: it’s inherently good or bad. In the real world, it’s not that simple. The confusion starts with defining free trade (and by extension, globalization).
In the classical definition of free trade espoused by 18th century British economist David Ricardo, trade is generally thought of as goods being shipped from one nation to another to take advantage of what Ricardo termed comparative advantage: nations would benefit by exporting whatever they produced efficiently and importing what they did not produce efficiently. While Ricardo’s concept of free trade is intuitively appealing because it is win-win for importer and exporter, it doesn’t describe the consequences of the mobility of capital. Capital–cash, credit, tools and the intangible capital of expertise–moves freely around the globe seeking the highest possible return, pursuing the prime directive of capital: expand or die.
Capital that fails to expand will stagnate or shrink. If the contraction continues unchecked, the capital eventually vanishes.
The convergence in emerging market inflation – Kevin Daly, Loughlan O’Doherty
Recent years have seen emerging market economy inflation rates converge towards developed economy rates, as well as convergence between emerging markets. The sustained improved inflation performance in emerging markets has occurred even as unemployment in many of these economies has fallen to record lows. This column attributes the improved performance to two factors: increases in monetary policy credibility following the widespread introduction of inflation targeting, and a reduction in the frequency of emerging market currency crises, reflecting a secular improvement in their balance sheets.
$21 Trillion And Rising: How Central Banks Are LBOing The World In One Stunning Chart – Tyler Durden
Back in late 2016, we showed the unprecedented domination of capital markets by central banks using a chart from Citi, which had put together a fascinating slideshow asking simply “Where is the utility in marginal QE” and specifically pointing out that the longer unconventional monetary policy such as QE continues, the bigger its marginal cost, until eventually QE becomes a detriment.
A broad criticism of monetary policy, the presentation carried an amusing footnote: “This presentation does not change any of Citi’s existing, published views on the actual future path of monetary policy. It is merely intended as a contribution to the ongoing debate about the efficacy of available policy tools” – after all, the last thing the market wanted is the realization that even banks no longer have faith in the central planners.
Incidentally, Citi’s broad critique of global QE took place when central banks owned just over $18 trillion in assets.
Fast forward to today when in its latest update of central bank holdings, Citi shows that as of this moment not only has the total increased by another $3 trillion to a grand total of $21 trillion and rising, but that the big six central banks now own over 40% of global GDP, more than double the 17% they held before the financial crisis less than a decade ago.
The Home-Price Surges in 100 Cities since Housing Bubble 1 – Wolf Richter
Dallas home prices more than tripled since 2012. Manhattan turned south last year.
Among the 100 largest cities in the US, where did home prices soar the fastest over the past five years since 2012? No, it wasn’t San Francisco or any of the other housing markets where you need to have a top-notch income to buy a starter shack. And in five of these cities, home prices surged over 100% since the fourth quarter of 2012: the winner (a dubious honor) is Dallas, Texas.
From Q4 2012 through Q4 2017, the median home price in the city of Dallas skyrocketed 246%. In other words, during those five years, it multiplied by nearly three-and-a-half times, from $82,300 to $284,600. Since Q1 2008, just past the peak of Housing Bubble 1, prices have shot up 182%.
Public Labor Unions Are Getting Desperate – Gary Galles
There is an old lawyering adage that says “If the law is on your side, pound the law. If the facts are on your side, pound the facts. If neither is on your side, pound the table.” It also has an alternate ending which says, “When neither is on your side, pound your opponent.”
This adage could be restated as: When you have a good argument, make it well; when you don’t have a good argument, find a way to shift the focus elsewhere, whether it involves various distractions or ad hominem attacks. That latter strategy is also illustrated by air combat. When your opponent has your number and a missile is on the way at you, you dump chaff to confuse and misdirect the missile from you.
A new take on low interest rates and risk taking – Yueran Ma, Wilte Zijlstra
Interest rates have reached historic lows over the past decade, raising questions about how such an environment affects investor risk-taking behaviour. This column uses randomised investment experiments in the US and the Netherlands to answer these questions. Results show that low interest rates lead to significantly higher allocations towards risky assets in both samples. The likely mechanisms relate to investor psychology, including reference dependence and salience.
Trade Deficits and Fiat Currencies – P. Murphy
[Originally published March, 2010.]
There is a connection between fiat currencies and trade deficits, and many cynics have argued that the US dollar’s status as global reserve currency allowed Americans to consume more than they produced for decades. However, this “deficit without tears” argument is sometimes overstated. To gain a deeper understanding of both monetary theory and international trade, it’s useful to probe the issue more carefully.
Does Fiat Money Cause Trade Deficits?
In his book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin is rightfully suspicious of the American trade deficit and the US dollar’s special role in the world since World War II.
***Why Banking Is No Ordinary Industry – Ryan Griggs
Have you ever wondered what you ought to do with the money you make? If so, you aren’t alone.
Recent college graduates, many of whom have had little to no experience in managing an income, find themselves in the awkward position of having to do something with it; that is if we suppose they actually find employment in the first place.
The problem of what to do with the money we make has literally existed for centuries. However, the issue isn’t totally opaque. It doesn’t take a financial genius to know that some portion of income should be — must be — spent on life’s necessities, e.g. food, clothing, and shelter.
But what happens when there’s some money left over?
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